Alison Kertis created the Literacy Project in 2019 and will be holding a Harry Potter trivia night fundraiser at Brewer’s Cabinet, 475 S. Arlington Ave., March 5 at 7 p.m. Learn more at facebook.com/literacyprojectNV.
What made you want to start the Literacy Project, and what kind of goals have you accomplished so far?
Growing up, reading was always a huge part of my life, and I never had to worry about getting a new book to read or finding something I liked and having the chance to read it. So when I decided that I had to do something else besides my job as an attorney, I knew I wanted books to be involved somehow. Then, I was doing Big Brothers Big Sisters a couple years ago, and my sister was in fourth grade, and she couldn’t read—which affected her grades in school, and I could just never build an interest for her to read books, which helped me get the idea that, if we can help these kids get the resources they need, it can make a huge difference. It’s difficult to do much if you can’t read, so we want these children to have options for their proficiency level and save teachers from having to reach into their pockets every year. The national average that teachers spend a year is over $500.
What kind of help do you provide schools and teachers with exactly?
We have three programs that we try to set out to do, the first of which is providing books to classrooms—possibly around 30 to 35 copies of an individual book, so that way, if a teacher wanted to do a study or an analysis of that book for class, everyone can have a copy. The second is what we call a classroom library makeover, which is anywhere from 50 books to one we did a few days ago where we got them over 200. We also provided shelving units as well to ensure they had the proper space for them. Finally, we also do individual book requests for students either from our website or an Amazon wishlist we have as well.
How much support from the city have you received so far?
Brewer’s Cabinet has been great, and they care so much about nonprofits, so it’s been awesome getting to work with them. They’ve been truly amazing. It would be cool for other local businesses to get involved, so that way we can help build a reputation and possibly get corporate sponsorship or major donors to get involved, which we would love. It’s hard to trust a new nonprofit that isn’t a year old to give a bunch of money to, so we have to continue helping and showing that we’ll work our butts off to help these kids—and we are doing a lot more than others to help schools around Nevada. I’m so confident we will get them to realize the impact we’re trying to make, and I know this organization can succeed in helping kids in this city and state get the reading material they need to succeed as well.
What will the Harry Potter event be like and what other events can we look forward to?
The Harry Potter trivia night is a great way to help get involved in what we’re trying to do, and what’s really cool is you can come for free if you buy a book off the wishlist and just send us a copy of your receipt. So, you can fulfill a request for a child personally while also coming to attend a fun night with others who enjoy helping as well. We also have an event coming up in May as a Literacy Project heroine-type ordeal that should help provide even more books as well. We’re very excited.